Great Performances: Season 37, Episode 19

Chess in Concert (17 Jun. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
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Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

Chess In Concert: Chess In Concert



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Anatoly Sergievsky
Kerry Ellis ...
Marti Pellow ...
Grant Anthony ...
Christopher Colley ...
The Chess in Concert Company
Tiffany Graves ...
The Chess in Concert Company
Leila Benn Harris ...
The Chess in Concert Company
David Michael Johnson ...
The Chess in Concert Company
Christian Lund ...
Leonid Viigand
Aoife Mulholland ...


Chess In Concert: Chess In Concert

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17 June 2009 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Frederick Trumper: I'd let you watch, I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you.
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Pity the Child #1
Music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Performed by Adam Pascal
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User Reviews

Outdated show but brilliantly performed
3 January 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A show which pits the US against the USSR obviously means less now than it used to, and that is perhaps the weakness of this musical - however, the lyrics of Tim Rice and music by Bjorn and Benny from ABBA are still excellent, and that is its biggest strength.

Filmed live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in May 2008, this concert version of Chess presents a largely American cast to fill the difficult singing roles. Adam Pascal as Freddie and Idina Menkel as Florence are probably best known for their appearance in Jonathan Larson's Rent; Josh Groban is a pop-opera singer and here plays Anatoly, while Kerry Ellis from Wicked is Svetlana. Rounding out the cast are Clarke Peters as a TV anchorman with an agenda, David Bedella as Anatoly's KGB second, and Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet as the Arbiter.

Is the music good? Definitely. Are the roles performed well? Yes, although Idina Menkel isn't really my taste, too shrill and too much face-pulling. Groban and Pascal are a revelation in their respective roles - although they will not displace memories of Tommy Korberg and Murray Head from the 1984 concept album of the show.

Semi-staged with modern dance routines and some lively singing from the choir, this version of Chess should please fans old and new, or anyone who loves musicals.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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